Hiking

Leslie Gulch, Eastern Oregon

Driving into Leslie Gulch
Driving into Leslie Gulch

The drive into Leslie Gulch can be quite an epic adventure. The road down in the gulch is a well maintained gravel road, but up on the flat area above the gulch there are many different undeveloped tracks. Upon coming out of the gulch , I met a guy in a pickup with a camper that had been lost for 2 days. I gave him directions back to the highway.

Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock

Many of the rock formations seem ready to separate from the high cliffs above at any moment and tumble down to the valley floor.

Stone Faces
Stone Faces

This rock wall looks as if many stone faces have been cast into the rock. While hiking by this formation I had the eerie feeling that I was being watched by thousands of eyes. The formations were actually formed by pockets of gas developing in rhyolite deposits from the Mahogany Mountain /Leslie Gulch ash flow tuft.

Stone Faces
Stone Faces

This rock wall looks as if many stone faces have been cast into the rock. While hiking by this formation I had the eerie feeling that I was being watched by thousands of eyes.

Hiking up Juniper Gulch
Hiking up Juniper Gulch

Bobeu and Hank and I headed up the Juniper Gulch trail. The trail is basically a wash, so I was very aware that I was in flash flood territory. The dark rain clouds and high humidity were also good indicators to the potential for flash flooding.

Natural Cave
Natural Cave

Among the other amazing and extraordinary formations I found this huge cave. The cave may be a good place to spend the night if there wasn’t any wind blowing into the opening. I would later find some deeper caves.

Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock

Another balanced rock. This one extending above an area of faces cast in stone.

Bobeau & Hank
Bobeau & Hank

Bobeau and Hank have a good time hiking in this area. They are very calm and follow me and stay on the trail the entire hike. They are very well behaved.

Mushroom Rock
Mushroom Rock

This rock reminds me of some kind of mushroom. The formations are very interesting when analyzed in detail. The combination of wind and water has further sculpted the original gas bubble formations over the years in the soft malleable rhyolite.

Dinosaur Egg
Dinosaur Egg

This rock is about the size of a dinosaur egg.  I can imagine a prehistoric animal emerging from the rock.  I can easily stand inside the rock as I pass by it on my hike.

View down Juniper Gulch
View down Juniper Gulch

Weather is starting to set in. It is starting to drizzle and the wind is really picking up.

Eagle Rock
Eagle Rock

The Leslie Gulch area is a great place to let your imagination run wild! There are so many odd formations and so many stimuli to imagine familiar objects in the stone. Here is an eagle perched on top of a large stone mass. Behind him is an alien form. Leslie Gulch is a lush garden for the imagination that spawns natural visions of the extraordinary.

Stone Pillars
Stone Pillars

These stone pillars rise vertically from the valley floor below. This could be a climber’s dream if they enjoyed chimney stemming. From a distance this formation looks like a throne for a giant.

Bobsled Gully
Bobsled Gully

The course of water can be seen in this gully reminding me of the bobsled tracks used in Olympic competition.

Inside the Cave
Inside the Cave

This cave was on the outside corner of the wash. I belive a gas bubble created the cave and then water has increased its depth over the years. Water erosion has carved out the cavern under the overhanging cliffs as it continually rounds the corner and centripetal force causes a scouring of the soft rhyolite.

Stone Wall
Stone Wall

Still inside the wash. This wall has held up against the erosion

Juniper Trees
Juniper Trees

The berries are know for use in flavoring Gin.  They were also traditionally used as a spice in European cuisine.  Not an actual berry, they are the female conifer seed cone of the juniper tree.  Some species (Juniperus Sabina) are poisonous. This photo most resembles Juniperus Californica (California Juniper) or possibly Juniperus Osteosperma (Utah Juniper).

Leslie Gulch Cabin
Leslie Gulch Cabin

This is a small cabin on the way out of Leslie Gulch.

~Tad Jones


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